#66 Visit All 50 States (Illinois)

Complete With: Hannah S., Brian G.

Completed On: Thursday, June 21, 2012 – Saturday, June 23, 2012

This past weekend I headed to Illinois for the National Archives Conference for Fraternities and Sororities¬†at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Champaign, IL. It was super expensive to fly direction to Champaign. I ended up flying into Chicago, renting a car, and driving 2.5 hours by myself to Champaign. The roads are so flat and straight. There’s nothing but corn. It was a little nerve wracking because my rental car was a Kia Forte. I’m not used to driving small cars. But, it was so nice and new. I could drive up to 90 and not use tons of gas like I would in my Jeep. I’d say that was a good first experience in renting a car, as well.

Corn

The gist of the conference was to learn how to archive and digitize your organization’s history. A lot of NPC sororities were there, so it was pretty amazing that they had so many artifacts from the 1900’s. But, getting the audio from a wax cylinder or video from old slides is a lot more difficult and expensive than what a sorority founded in 1998 has to do. I’m grateful for that.

We also took a tour of the UIUC Archives and Libraries. They have artifacts from a really long time ago, which is pretty cool to see. They also have the John Philip Sousa Archives at UIUC. My band geek came out a little bit. They had all these original instruments and sheet music. There was a whole case of about 40 wooden clarinets.

They took us to the conservation labs too. This is where they treat artifacts to get them into their original (or as close to) condition as possible. They have these crazy machines that suck all the mold and insects out of old books and ones that can get rid of water stains on pages. It was interesting.

We went out on Friday night, with a brother from Chi Sigma Tau as our tour guide, to see what “downtown” Champaign was like. It was nothing like Athens or Atlanta. There’s basically one street that everything happens on. We went to a bar called Fire Haus. I guess it was the only popular bar because by the time we left, there was a line down the block to get in. The drink specials were also crazy cheap. We just had a few beers and then walked around. We stopped at this dessert place called Insomnia Cookies. The kid was closing up though and seemed like he didn’t really want to serve us. He told us they were out of ice cream. Somehow, that seemed impossible. We left with some pretty good cookies though.

That pretty much sums up my trip to Champaign. I’m kind of sad that I flew into Chicago but didn’t get a chance to see the city. Maybe next time.

~SL

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